As of June 1, the U.S. Apple Association reported national fresh-market holdings of 16.7 million bushels, 27% less than the same time last year and 23% less than the five-year average.
Northwest holdings, with Washington’s 15.1 million bushels remaining, revealed similar figures. Last year, at this time, Washington had 20.5 million bushels remaining. Similarly, Michigan’s storage has fallen from 1.3 million bushels in 2001 to 462,000 this year, helping put the Midwest 62% below the previous year’s figures.
Barry Winkel, general manager of Greg Orchards & Produce Inc., Benton Harbor, Mich., said Michigan’s fall crop could start a week later and be 70% of a normal year.
“We will still have ample supplies to take care of us most of the year, but we might get done a month earlier,” he said.
Meanwhile, Rice Fruit Co., a year-round shipper, plans to finish its remaining stores of golden delicious and fujis by late July. Later varieties, red delicious and rome, should run until the end of August, before the fall crop’s start during the second week of September.
Concluded Winkel: “Marketing apples is never easy, but it should be easier this year. Whenever you have fruit sitting on the ground, you are definitely at a marketing disadvantage.”